When I became a parent, I became incredibly well-acquainted with germs and other gross things.
Not only were my kids constantly wiping their snot on me or vomiting into my hair, I was also experiencing strange new things happening to my body. Spider veins? Never had them before. Skin tags?? What the?? Basically, being a parent can be gross. You just have to be comfortable with it.
Another gross thing that can happen to everyone—but there’s no way anyone is going to talk openly about it—is toenail fungus. It’s apparently a whole lot more common than you would think, and especially for kids in winter.
If you think about it—they’re out skating and skiing and wearing boots for hours on end with sweaty, damp feet. Hours on end of wet socks and wrinkly toes. They’ve basically got trench foot for the entire season. It’s a breeding ground for toenail fungus.
And—a quick aside—is it just me or do a lot of kids have strange toenails in general? For the first several years of my oldest child’s life, I thought she had something seriously wrong with her toenails. They seemed to crack easily and weren’t ‘normal’ looking. Turns out? They were normal. But it would have been helpful to know what toenail fungus looked like at the time to help calm my mild neuroses.
Anyway, because we all want to protect our kids from gross afflictions (as well as really embarrassing situations) here are a few handy tips for parents to help keep your kids’ feet dry and fungus-free this winter.
- Keep their footwear as clean and dry as possible. Easier said than done, I know. But when they’re not out running around in slush or getting sweaty feet from playing non-stop, always remove the liners from your kids’ boots and shoes and put them on a heating vent. Dry their boots and shoes out as much as possible – every time they get worn.
- Cut their nails regularly. As much as my kids seem to hate sitting still long enough to have them done, I insist on keeping their toenails clipped short. Less space for ‘stuff’ to grow.
- Let their feet breathe. This may be the easiest to accomplish, because kids seem to hate socks. As soon as my kids get in the door, one of the first things they do is rip off their socks. I tend to encourage it to let their feet breathe and stay dry.
If your kids’ toenails are looking yellow, have a white or brown discolouration, are brittle, are crumbling or have a mild thickening to them, they’ve likely got a toenail fungus. Ugh.
The good news? It’s actually treatable with a prescription topical cream known as Jublia. And it’s great for the whole family to use. Thank goodness—because it’s not like we don’t have enough to worry about, right?
Here’s to keeping all your family’s cute little tootsies dry, warm and fungus-free this winter!
This article was in partnership with nailfungus.ca and developed with information obtained from the Toenail Fungus Information (TIP) program.